Struggling to choose the best way to create a progress S Curve, or finding it tough to produce a progress report that really showcases your hard work?

Let me guide you through a simpler, more effective approach.

Selecting the Ideal Export Data That Work For Your Project

In my previous guide on generating S curves or histograms from Primavera P6, I mentioned a nifty option: copying resource data right from the resource assignment tag.

Here’s why it could be the best pick for you:

  • Use Actual Hours or Actual Costs as your benchmark for earned value. It updates automatically with your activity’s progress, ideal if your project doesn’t require earned value data from P6.
  • Adjust filters and layouts easily and see changes instantly, without the hassle of waiting for reports to regenerate.

However, if your project’s progress needs to be reported based on earned value data from P6, then Option 1 is your answer.

This method is great for exporting comprehensive earned value data over the life of the project.

Steps for Exporting Earned Value Data from P6 for Excel S Curve:

    • Step 1 – Maintain and assign project baseline
    • Step 2 – Change the setting for Earned Value calculation
    • Step 3 – Create New Report to Build Progress S Curve
    • Step 4 – Export the report to Excel spreadsheet
    • Step 5 – Create a progress S Curve on a spreadsheet from scratch or an existing template

Step 1 – Maintain and assign project baseline

Why do you need a baseline? P6 calculates Planned Value and Earned Value data from a baseline. No baseline, no earned value.

To assign a project baseline,

(1) Go to Project >> Maintain Baselines >> then click Add

(2) Once you have maintained a baseline, go to Project >> Assign Baselines >> then assign the project under Project Baseline.

If you are unsure how to assign a baseline in P6, click How to fix the problem – Baseline Change with the Data Date changes

Step 2 – Change setting for Earned Value calculation

First, you must change the P6 default setting for earned value calculation when you set up a progress curve. I know you have a question for me. Why do you need to change its setting? Here are the reasons:

 You wish to use Planned Value and Earned Value data from P6 as a basis for progress (percent complete) calculation.

☑ Earned Value data (exported from P6) depends on how you set up the calculation setting.

So, how do you adjust the setting to achieve the intended results and avoid confusion? Don’t worry; follow the steps below.

Setting# Select Budgeted Values with current dates for Earned Value calculation

To do this, go to Admin >> Admin Preferences >> Earned Value >> choose Budgeted values with the current date or At Completion Value with current date“, as shown below.

Quick Tip: Choosing the Right Dates in P6

Confused about whether to use current or planned dates in P6? You’re not alone. It’s a tricky decision, especially for beginners.

The Trap of Planned Dates

It’s easy to accidentally choose planned dates, but here’s the catch: they often don’t line up with the current dates, especially the finish date of ongoing activities.

Why Accuracy Matters

Why does this matter? If you use the wrong dates for your calculations, your project’s planned value and SPI (Schedule Performance Index) can be way off. That can lead to misleading progress reports.

Good News for New Schedules

But here’s some good news: If you’re working on a brand new schedule, this mix-up won’t impact you, since it doesn’t include any activities that are already in progress. Just something to keep in mind for accurate project tracking!

Step 3 – Create New Report to Build Progress S Curve

1) Open the project that you want to build a progress curve.

2) Go to Tools >> Report. When you are there, you will see the All Reports layout.

3) Look for Report Group: Resource Usage, where you can create a new report and find it quickly whenever needed.

4) Right-click >> Add > New Report > Next > Select Time Distributed Data check box to see the project data for the project >> Select “Activities” in the Subject Area box, and click Next.

5) Select Planned and Earned Value labor units from the activity column if the project is loaded with labor hours, or pick the Planned Value and Earned Value costs if your project schedule is loaded with project cost.

(6) Select “Show Grand Totals‘ from Group & Sort, click OK, and click Next.

(7) Once you’ve done step 6, you will find the Timescale and Time Interval Fields tags in the Date Options window. Next, select Show Time Intervals and Show Period Total checkboxes to display project data over the period and all-time.

8) In the Timescale tag, set the time scale starts to PS-Earliest Project Start, the time scale finish to PF-Latest Project Finish, and the date intervals (select day, month as desired).

9) In Time Interval Fields tag,

» Select Cum Planned Value Labor Unit when setting up the progress curve and before the project starts.

» Select Cum Planned Value Labor Unit and Cum Earned Value Unit when the project is in progress and you want to report earned value progress.

Don’t worry about using Actual Labor Unit or Actual Cost unless you want to report – CPI (Cost Performance Index), CV (Cost Variance) and if you bring the actual spent or cost to P6.

10) Name the report title, click “Next”, and save it.

Step 4 – Export the report to Excel spreadsheet

» To start, select the report you just saved >> Click Run report > Select Delimited Text file, and choose the output file location to export P6 data to Excel as shown in the figure below.

» Once you have exported the spreadsheet data, you will find the planned and earned value report below.

#Planned Value/Earned Value report data from P6 (before the project starts)

» You won’t get the earned value data before the project begins or progress any work because the earned value is based on progress (BAC x Percent Complete).

#Planned Value/Earned Value report data from P6 (After the progress of one month)

» Here, you will find earned value export data from P6 after updating the project status.

» If you want to change the format of the date, you can either change it in EXCEL or change it in P6’s User preference settings – “Edit” >> User preferences and look for the “Date” tag. Then, change the date format that you prefer.

 Step 5 – Create a Progress S Curve on a spreadsheet from scratch or an existing template

Once the data is exported from P6, you are ready to develop Progress S Curve in Excel, and if you haven’t got a template to create the graph, try the following steps:

I have assigned location numbers #1 to 3 to help you explain. See a snapshot below.

So, let’s get started.

(1) First, prepare the time interval to plot a graph. To do this, copy the time scale row (location number#1 – highlighted in green) and paste it to the below – Location number#2.

(2) Add location number#3 (Populate Planned and Earned Progress)

    • Add “Cum Planned %” and calculate the percent complete.

For example, To get the cumulative planned % for May,

Cum Planned Labour Unit for May/Total Planned Labour Unit ⇒ 958/10080 = 9.5% ≃ 10%

    • Add “Cum Earned %” (or earned progress) and calculate earned progress.

For example, Cum Earned Labour Unit for May/Total Planned Labour Unit ⇒ 800/10080 = 7.9% ≃ 8%

Why do we use that formula? It’s because Earned Value (EV) = Budget at Completion (BAC) x Progress.

If we want the earned progress, Earned Progress = EV/BAC; another word for BAC is the total planned budget (hours, cost, etc.).

TIP: Enter the earned percent complete up to the data date (progress cut-off date or status date).

(3) Plot the S Curve

    • Select three rows (time scale, Cum Planned % and Cum Earned %) to plot S Curve.
    • In MS Excel 365, go to Insert >> click on the “Insert Lines or Area Chart” menu, then select the Line with Markers.

That’s it. Now, you should get progress S Curve and ready for reporting.

Boost Your Project Scheduling Skills with Option 1

So, that’s the rundown on using Option 1 (Export via Report Wizard) to export earned value data and showcase your project’s progress.

It’s a straightforward, five-step process that can elevate your role in the team, highlighting you as a key player in identifying project opportunities and challenges early on.

Once you’ve learned to prepare S Curve knowing the basis and option in mind, you’ll have put yourself in a place to succeed. You’ll have inched toward your goals of becoming expert in scheduling.